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Edited and newly trans­lated from the Chi­nese by Chloe Gar­cia Roberts With ad­di­tional trans­la­tions by A.C. Gra­ham and Lu­cas Klein

Pa­per­back • $16.00 Also avail­able as an e-book


Li Shangyin is one of the fore­most po­ets of the late Tang, but un­til now he has rarely been trans­lated into English, per­haps be­cause the es­o­teri­cism and sen­su­al­ity of his work set him apart from the aus­tere masters of the Chi­nese lit­er­ary canon. Li fa­vored al­lu­sive­ness over di­rect­ness, and his po­ems un­furl through mys­te­ri­ous im­ages be­fore co­a­lesc­ing into an emo­tional whole. Com­bin­ing he­do­nis­tic aes­theti­cism with stark fa­tal­ism, Li’s po­etry is an in­tox­i­cat­ing mix­ture of plea­sure and grief, de­sire and loss, ev­ery­where im­bued with a sin­gu­lar nos­tal­gia for the present mo­ment.

This vol­ume presents Chloe Gar­cia Roberts’s trans­la­tions of a wide se­lec­tion of Li’s verse in the com­pany of other ver­sions by the prom­i­nent si­nol­o­gist A.C. Gra­ham and the scholar-poet Lu­cas Klein.

“Li Shangyin’s po­etry em­bod­ies pas­sion, com­mit­ment, and con­flict .... He ex­tended the scope of Chi­nese po­etry by ex­plor­ing spheres of ex­pe­ri­ence pre­vi­ously un­touched by po­ets.”

—James J. Y. Liu

“His use of al­lu­sion is the sub­tlest in Tang po­etry —abrupt tran­si­tions in which an al­lu­sion pro­vides the un­men­tioned bridge, del­i­cate vari­a­tions on com­mon­place ref­er­ences, oblique glimpses of his­tor­i­cal events, di­rect pre­sen­ta­tion of a scene be­fore his eyes in which one senses elu­sive par­al­lels with a scene in his­tory or po­etry.”

—A.C. Gra­ham

Join trans­la­tors

Chloe Gar­cia Roberts and Lu­cas Klein for a cel­e­bra­tion and read­ing of Li Shangyin’s po­etry

Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 1st, 7:30pm Green­light Book­store 686 Ful­ton Street, Brook­lyn

Avail­able in book­stores, call (646) 215-2500, or visit

Re­cently pub­lished in the NYRB Po­ets se­ries A CER­TAIN PLUME Henri Michaux OUR LIFE GROWS Ryszard Kryn­icki DRAFTS, FRAG­MENTS, AND PO­EMS THE COM­PLETE PO­ETRY Joan Mur­ray

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